In the world of elder care, where I spend most of my time (when my wife / boss finds me slacking off by writing this blog and drags me back to Support For Home Health Care), we get to know a large number of seniors who have hearing loss, hate that they have hearing loss, and refuse to do anything about it. I have written several articles about the problem, including these two.
As discussed in my earlier articles, untreated (by hearing aid) hearing loss is a terrible contributor to isolation of elders. That isolation and the underlying hearing loss are often seen as signs of cognitive decline on the part of the senior. Now, a study out of Johns Hopkins University, reported by the excellent blog, “The New Old Age,” indicates that those signs may be accurate in many cases.
Dr. Frank Lin led the study, which ”
found that annual rates of cognitive decline were 41 percent greater in older adults with hearing problems than in those without, based on results from the Modified Mini-Mental State Exam. A five-point decline on that test is considered a “clinically significant” indicator of a change in cognition.
Using this information, Dr. Lin found that elderly people with hearing problems experienced a five-point decline on the exam in 7.7 years, compared with 10.9 years for those with normal hearing.”
That level of decline may not be directly cause and effect, in terms of hearing loss, but I guarantee you that, at the first sign of hearing loss on my part, I am heading to the audiologist.
Thanks for listening. Best wishes. Bert